[Request for Comment - Draft Proposal] Building a Pluralist Grants Framework - Milestone 1

Looking at the points mentioned in the comments, here is a brief summary from my POV, that need to be altered for this proposal to move forward.

Budget

  1. Priority the funding of pluralistic grants program: 2.25-2.5M
  • An additional 10% will be used to fund the admin/ program manager costs. 225k - 250k
  1. Reduce “Funding direct grants program” for milestone one.
  • R&D should be funded in milestone one as it is as essential part of innovation and growth for the long term. This can also help the DAO make a more informed decision for funding milestone two.
  1. Reduce the Gitcoin matching funding pool to a more reasonable amount
  2. Revise the amount required for accountability, with these new changes.

I believe in the vision set out here, but I also understand some of the concerns in handing out a large number of funds, especially in the early days of a DAO. It would be best for both parties to find the middle ground which enables Plurality Labs to execute a high quality of work, but at an amount, which enables them to work for the long term, not the short term.

Purpose of Plurality Labs

Echoing @tnorm comments on purpose, it is a valid thought to take a step back and evaluate whether its worth the DAO funding a pluralistic grants framework, when there are other vendors such as Questbook who are already providing their own service without additional support.

Questbook is a rare case in my opinion, and other programs would require more support, but @DisruptionJoe could you expand on the role plurality labs would help in facilitating these programs?

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We appreciate all the work @DisruptionJoe, and others have put into this proposal. The program design, milestones, and goals are sensible, and the budget is appropriate.

What should the community expect with regard to communications from Pluralist Labs on standing this up and ongoing operations?

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Through this forum and the Twitter spaces we’ve received a lot of great feedback. We are going to bring it together with a new draft which we will post on Monday.

Please continue to share comments between now and then - we will continue to listen and respond in the new draft.

We’ve had a few one on one convos where people expressed this. We definitely need to both make adjustments and better clarify how much is directed to the ecosystem growth.

This proposal is designed to remove the bureaucracy. We know that when a DAO doesn’t do any mindful intervention, they centralize fairly quickly. We can absolutely fund these grants programs directly with no Plurality Labs. However, the pattern that is most likely to play out is this one.

This proposal will immediately begin funding L2/L3 development. It is a key metric for the proposal. That said, I think this is a great callout you are making because this proposal is specifically about solving the problem of centralization over time.

You are correct in pointing out that to support this proposal, one must ALSO support the following in addition to funding ecosystem development.

  • You believe the DAO should be able to maintain decentralization over time
  • You’ve seen and understand the pitfalls of grants programs without oversight
  • You recognize that different funding models work better for different goals

One other consideration, we do think there should be other grants going out to fund the ecosystem outside of this program.

As for the incentive being aligned, this is a good point. We will consider options here.

For the answers to the other questions, we can include some of this information in the next draft. It was in a previous draft and we took it out to make it shorter.

This was not communicated well. We took out a ton of the granular details to shorten the proposal. We had a lot of feedback from reviewers that the proposal was way to long. Hopefully, the next draft communicates this better.

Thank you for your recognition. Some think it should be a multisig which is elected, others think appointment. Do you think voters will participate in a multisig election for a 6 month project? We aren’t sure what’s best and are looking for feedback on this.

We have a direct comment from @azeem with Gitcoin above. He is a workstream lead. Is there someone else you’d like to represent Gitcoin here?

Hopefully we are more aligned than you currently see it. Thanks for some valuable input. There are key items we can communicate better and some that we need to change. It will all be taken into consideration before we post a final draft.

We want to cocreate this with the community. If you are interested in participating in a workshop about this next week, please dm!

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Appreciate the timely response and reception! We look forward to seeing V2 of the proposal and further details about the administrative budget and the strategic alignment of program benefits with those of the Arbitrum network.

For a multisig, a forum temp check of proposed signers and Snapshot ratification feels okay. I don’t know if an election is necessary for V1 but might be required as the program evolves.

The distinct nature of the Gitcoin distribution might justify a separate proposal demonstrating a collaborative strategy. For example, I’d love to hear from @azeem and Gitcoin on insights and lessons learned from similar protocol partnerships for the DAO to consider. This proposal can simultaneously address Plurality Labs’ operational costs for this specific endeavor.

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I see there a ‘v2’ of this proposal coming out soon - look forward to the updates. I think the proposal is a good one and the discussion around it has been great. A few quick thoughts:

The concept of centralizing first to avoid centralization sounds odd initially, but I find it a fair point and the more I reflect on it the more I do see examples of that happening. I think this is something worth exploring as a solution, as I do agree with the high-level analysis of the pitfalls of DAO grant funding through decentralized voting linked above. As long as the end goal remains to decentralized in the long term.

I doubt it will change, but I would strongly prefer the ‘v2’ version to keep some variation of the ‘Milestone’ timeline provided. These milestones having to be approved as separate AIP’s provides an important checks & balances to this proposal, as those are more exploratory / research based in nature. Tied to that, I would like to continue to see the end goal being a phasing out this program as decentralized solutions are thought up.

In my initial read of the proposal I was questioning the Matching Gitcoin in relation to not being a separate proposal or otherwise lumped into the funding grant pool. However, I saw that was addressed in the comments and I find that a fair response and will trust the group that put this all togethers judgement. I would say however, I do agree with @Frisson’s general sentiment on the breakdowns. I do think the Gitcoin amount seems high in relation to the other goals (although I’m open to seeing analysis to show otherwise). It does sound like the amounts are a little fluid still, so I will look to see if v2 addresses some of that.

I’d be curious your thoughts on maybe having the individual grants capped within the grant groups (both 1 and 2). For example, in #1 it sounded like the goal was to find 4-6 pluralist models, which at 2.5 Million each is about 500 Million ARB assuming the median 5 are found. Something to think about is setting a caped max by per project before the vote. It doesn’t have to be super strict, I’d just hate to see that expected 4-6 turn into only say 2 actual funded projects. Which then since the money is there anyway just gets sent out to a point of excess. In short, is there contingencies for what is done with leftover funds? Whether that is a return to the dao, or a roll-forward to be used for Milestones 2 & 3?

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I think we can get it there or close on the rewrite. In hindsight, this seems like a no brainer.

This is a tough item to coordinate, but not undoable. Here are the challenges/issues:

We also need to know that Gitcoin will prioritize the work for the amount being promised.

  • If you look at what Gitcoin has gotten from Optimism in the past, it has been substantial and delivered at some critical moments. There is a strong relationship there.
  • Gitcoin has multiple rounds during its quarterly public goods “festivals”. There are usually 10+ for a total of >40,000 unique users. Gitcoin’s last festival round had way lower participation with gas fees on mainnet, but it was a first open round on the protocol. I do think that we are underestimating the potential for so many real unique users to have their first experience on L2 being on Arbitrum. If we don’t do this, the next round is likely on OP. How many of those users will then default to OP as their “go to” L2.
  • Gitcoin prioritizing the build out allow us to start the pluralist program sooner because without it we don’t have access (or it’s more difficult) to run some of the mechanisms that would be used like quadratic funding.

I do see the potential to do the Gitcoin part as a separate proposal AND wait to do the pluralist portion of this.

A critical component of that is “Are we sure we want to wait?”

Pros of waiting

  • Gitcoin will build on Arbitrum eventually anyway - probably after next festival round
  • DAO gets to test Plurality Labs at a smaller price tag
  • We could offer matching funds to rounds running on Arbitrum in the future and potentially coax users to switch from OP then

Cons of waiting

  • The next festival runs on OP bringing them all the Gitcoin users
  • Most rounds and festival rounds after this one choose OP because that is where users are

My decision to keep this as a single proposal for this first draft is because I think it has a much higher impact than you may. I’ll offer a level of compromise that we can collectively negotiate with Gitcoin for the next draft.

This is reasonable. We will make some adjustments here as well.

@thedevanshmehta

I really do agree in principle. I’d rather us put the ARB received as collateral to borrow stables, or find another solution with the big brain ARB defi ecosystem to not cause this effect.

To clarify, the survey had the 10% number as an unrealistic option to see how people responded to the idea of that kind of yearly spend. It is NOT something we are advocating for!

This proposal would see 0.1% of treasury at MAX spent over 6+ months. Many of the grants wouldn’t exchange until after the 6 month program is over.

Part of the reason we wanted a fair, but higher allocation for Plurality Labs is because we would like some cushion available to do things like cover a potential liquidation if we paid in stables using Aave or another strategy. We would also like to hold onto some for governance rights and wouldn’t be cashing out more than we need for operating expenses.

There isn’t currently a set yearly budget. Part of the work we are asking to do is to discover a playbook of DAO native ways to find the answer to this in a legitimate and bottoms-up way.

I think this is SUPER important and shows the DAO experience of the Plurality Labs team.

Most would say, let’s hire a contributor or service provider (maybe start a workstream) to execute figuring out what our yearly budget and spending limit will be.

We are saying, “We would like to use our experience to work with the DAO to develop legitimate processes for setting these levels. Once we find them, we will be one voice that many in the DAO will choose to listen to because they respect the process used to discover the answer.”

Many DAOs lose legitimacy, the thing that drives governance engagement, because they make the team that decides on the spending limit the problem, rather than the process.

Poly-centric governance will enhance the DAOs ability to stay engaged through difficult decisions. In meatspace democracy, this is similar to the concept that the peaceful transfer of power is more important than the president.

I highly agree. The community needs to know that we are working to receive their vote for the next milestone. That is a huge motivator. We also have a huge motivator to be known as a group that follows through on it’s commitments. After the 3rd milestone, we want to be able to proudly showcase this work in our portfolio.

I made a commitment from my first day as the FDD workstream lead to step down as a lead and was able to follow through with that commitment. It is a top priority for me to not turn this into a continuous expense “workstream” to the DAO and instead be a finite project. Ambitious, but finite with clear deliverables.

The amounts definitely are fluid. I posted a few more considerations for the Gitcoin allocation above. I do believe that if there was a data analysis, we could empirically show that the range of benefit is much higher than most are conceptualizing. We have to balance how much pre-work we need to do versus what would be nice to do.

There is so much pre-work that goes into this kind of proposal.

  • 20+ hours from the committed Plurality Lab team members (not me)
  • 50+ hours from me
  • 50+ hours from a ton of reviewers and community members reviewing drafts and participating in calls, conversations, and workshopping

We were debating whether we should select the specific programs prior to posting this or not. We realized the honest amount of prework properly select and vet is too much for prior to initial funding.

I like the idea of a project CAP to say that across the programs any project can max raise X. Thanks! The grants safety multisig would also prevent Plurality Labs from only sending funds to two programs instead of 4-6.

Great question. I think a roll-over would be fine because Plurality Labs doesn’t hold them. There is no way for us to not spend it so we can keep it.

> Thanks for all the comments and apologies to any responses I haven’t put up! I’ve been at the conferences in Prague and slower to respond this week!

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This is a great question. We decided to take the answer out to shorten the proposal!

We are working to setup a weekly workshop for anyone from the community to participate and give feedback. I would expect us to be available for 1 on 1 scheduling for large stakeholders with a 24-48 notice. We would co-create blog posts with the program managers after each round and program completion. Then we will provide insights and a meta-analysis across the pluralist programs. (This is likely an incomplete high-level overview.)

We believe in open sourcing our code for any analysis so you can reproduce it locally. We also aim to provide a perspective to the DAO via transparency, auditability, and competence that individual stakeholders may choose to use our interpretations as guidance rather than designing black boxes or enforcing that our method is the only method.

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Hello, @DisruptionJoe. I appreciate your approach and the reasons behind it, but I believe this proposal requires more details.

First of all, I see that there is a rush to put this proposal to a vote, and it is not sufficiently detailed. Even though the justification is to attract more users, in my opinion, this position is not always correct.

Since its launch, Optmism has had a grant program, an aggressive LM, a second round of airdrops, and RFPG2, distributing over 67,138,923 OP. However, it has not been able to surpass Arbitrum in terms of users and TVL, which have experienced organic growth.

What I mean by this is that there is no need to be in a hurry. I’m all for having a grant program and obviously to Gitcoin, but we can do things in an orderly, solid and sustainable way from the beginning to attract users who are really interested in Arbitrum, rather than mercenaries.

Regarding the team, I would like to know what positions and roles they hold within Plurality Labs and what responsibilities they will fulfill during the program, or at least what their tasks will be.

I also think Shawn Grub, who is responsible for Gitcoin governance, should clarify what actions will be taken in case of conflict between ArbitrumDAO and GitcoinDAO, or what position or actions Plurality Labs will take in such a situation. Although there are not supposed to be problems, this ecosystem teaches us to be prepared for anything. I bring this up because I see that the team has a very close relationship with Gitcoin.

Finally, I would like to know what role the Auxiliary Teams and Advisors will have, how they will be compensated for their future work and where the funds for this will come from.

This is my personal opinion and not that of Seed Latam

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Hi!

When I read the proposal, it immediately caught my attention. I fully agree with the need to develop a “Capture-resistant grant allocation mechanism.”

However, as I continued reading the proposal and finished it, I am left with the feeling that having only one grant program creates biases that are not desirable for an initiative seeking to find the “definitive” mechanism.

I would like to invite you to think not as organizers but as applicants. I have participated in Gitcoin rounds since the third edition. Except for one round where there was a special matching for Latin America, it has always been too much effort for little impact for us:

  • In many past rounds, we had to “claim” on the mainnet to withdraw a matching amount that was lower than the gas fee for the transaction. Many teams never claimed their matching because it was impractical.
  • In the last round, the high fees not only affected donations but also resulted in dozens of builders not receiving enough donations + matching to cover the costs of participating in the round, resulting in losses of up to $40.
  • In the Education and Community category, 220 projects applied, of which 54 were from Latin America. Out of those 54 projects, 40 failed to reach the threshold of $100 in donations.
  • There are very few incentives for Latam when it comes to creating research, tooling, and infrastructure projects because local teams with limited resources compete globally with established teams that have prior funding and a wide public relations network. This creates an oversupply of initiatives in education and community.
  • In the Education and Community category, the total cost of gas fees for participating in the round + the gas fees for donating exceeded $114,000 USD (calculated with the average ETH price during those two weeks). This is more than double the proposed DEI Bonus by Gitcoin.
  • The DEI Bonus was an uncomfortable discussion within teams, especially for those who did not wish to disclose their LGBTQ+ community affiliation or ethnic origin. Regarding women, some legitimate teams with women were rejected, while some teams without women were dissatisfied. This incentivizes those who wish to farm the matching to present a partially or completely fictitious team next time.

I mention these examples because I would like them to be taken into account when considering any incentive or program. Sometimes, incentives that sound good for one group of people can lead to unfair conditions for teams from other regions. This gets blurred in forums and Web3 in general because we interact through wallets and the internet. If the ultimate goal is to attract development to the network, I believe it would be a good criterion to incentivize plurality. Especially now that there is @AnaTech.eth leading Arbitrum en Español, who is a well-known figure in the region (and this was the case even before her involvement with the Arbitrum Foundation).

I am specifically speaking about Latin America because it is where I have always lived, where we have millions of crypto users, and I have been involved in the crypto space since 2018. The proliferation of other Layer 1s besides Ethereum in the region is palpable. Few people know that platforms like Open Zeppelin, POAP, Decentraland and Hardhat emerged from Latin America. There is a lot of talent in the region, but clear incentives are needed. Developers in the region end up being attracted by grants, hackathons, and bootcamps from other Layer 1s.

From my team at ETH Kipu’s Public Goods area, we had the opportunity to experience the #RPGF2 rounds as Badgeholders. In that round, we also learned a lot. We have been part of the organization of the only three exclusive QF rounds for Latin America (Honduras, Bogotá, and Buenos Aires). We have knowledge of the teams in the region and their specific challenges.

I think the intention is great, but we need more voices before considering a single program that incubates others. As for my part, I have shared this post with different people who may have valuable insights. I look forward to seeing their comments in the coming days.

This opinion is purely personal and does not reflect the opinions of @seedlatam or ETH Kipu, organizations of which I am a member.

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This is a great point. I don’t think we are in a rush, but we do have some constraints. I’m guessing you saw that we are putting deadlines and expected posting dates. It is incredibly difficult to get the whole DAO to respond and setting dates when you require a response by is a good strategy. We have expressed on the Twitter Spaces and some calls with delegates that we would like to cocreate this proposal and will take the time to do so.

Yes. Missionaries over mercenaries. This is a core principle. Though there are certain rare projects which require some mercenary help - Think hiring a data analyst with a particular expertise for a one off study.

There is some info in the post about our domains of expertise, but we are not structured in a way that we are assigning tasks that aren’t yet funded.

We put them there to recognize all the work already put into this proposal and to name them so there isn’t any later issue where someone points out that they were involved early if they were to take on any work. The proposal is in an early stage so we might remove that for the next draft.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I’m always happy to receive a dm to connect and build this out with your input.

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This isn’t a proposal to have only one grant program. It is exactly the opposite. We would be very hypocritical to say that we are building a pluralist mechanism, but only ours should be allowed!

We hope to see other grants given directly from the DAO, especially early in the DAO’s life. If our project is successful, many more grants will be available through our system because we will have a plurality of mechanisms that help the community fund what matters. People should opt into our system, not be forced into it. Until the time the mechanism proves itself, it is highly likely that some grants will apply right to the DAO as will some complimentary programs.

We absolutely are applicants asking for the ability to deploy grants rounds and build the mechanisms as we go. I think we overstated the role of Gitcoin in this proposal. Yes, there is a role for their technology and the potential to bring their users, but in the rewrite you will see their role greatly reduced. Gitcoin is not the only mechanism or tool we will use.

I agree with many of the criticisms you have. Additionally, I would like to solve those problems and may even be able to prioritize finding solutions before the Gitcoin team as their priorities are different.

We’d love to cocreate a program with you to address these issues. Thanks for your time and thoughtful response.

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Workshop & Async Feedback Opportunities

Thanks to everyone who has given feedback so far, it has been incredibly helpful!

We have taken your feedback and crafted a Version 2 of the Arbitrum Pluralistic Grants Program. Our next step on this cocreation journey is to collect your insight on specific aspects of the V2 proposal to allow us to better assess which elements are working, and which need further revisions. . To enable this we are using a tool called Ethelo to help have quality asynchronous conversations. It will help best structure the conversation and lead to better outcomes where everyone has a voice.

:pray: OUR MOST IMPORTANT ASK:

Review the new proposal at arbitrum.ethelo.net

Must submit your input and comments by 5pm UTC on Monday, 6/19

OTHER GREAT WAYS TO PARTICIPATE

Open Delegates Workshop - Thursday 6/15 at 8pm UTC

In this one-off event we will be splitting our time between Mural and Ethelo to have a clear conversation with delegates about this proposal.

:calendar: Add to Calendar

Bi-Weekly Grants & Governance Workshops - Tuesdays at 2pm UTC

(First one on Tuesday, the 20th)

These bi-weekly facilitated sessions will be made open to all delegates and teams/individuals contributing to the Arbitrum ecosystem. Hosted workshops will use design thinking to better understand the problems we are facing, align our conversations, and find better solutions.

:calendar: Add to calendar

I know not everyone will be able to make a last minute invite for the workshop. Hopefully, the Ethelo tool will help us to be better async. Shout out to the stewards who have commented previously: @gauntlet @tnorm @Bob-Rossi @Frisson @CryptochicaSEEDLatam @Bobbay and others!

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Hi, thank you for the info.

Idk if I have an issue but the links to the calendar doesn’t work for me yet.

image

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Is that working now? You can also dm your email address to me and I will add it to the event.

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Thanks Joe - both links worked for me.

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Here is a quick sneak peek at our workshop planned for today.

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I will be joining the next call.

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Reminder!
Tomorrow (June 20th) we will have our first stakeholder call - topics on the agenda include:

  • Key takeaways from the 6.15 workshop
  • Final(?) adjustments made to the existing proposal
  • Possible proposed timeline
    Plus we will explore questions like “How do we quantify grantee success?” and “what does if this program does an excellent job” and que up topics for successive meetings.

Press the “Add to calendar” button above and plan to join us.

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We have decided that the Questbook & Plurality Labs proposals should be separate, but complimentary proposals. Here are the reasons behind keeping the proposals separate:

Credible Neutrality

To maintain credibility and avoid any perception of bias, Plurality Labs proposes conducting a discovery process to identify the most impactful means of deploying funds. By selecting Questbook before conducting this discovery, Plurality Labs may be seen as favoring a particular solution from the outset. Such a perception could undermine trust within the community.

The Arbitrum DAO can decide if they would like to see the Questbook program start outside of the governance and accountability of the Plurality Labs program.

Maintaining clear accountability

Questbook offers a ready-to-go solution with a process architecture that incorporates pluralist and decentralized elements. Their approach relies on a single allocation mechanism called Delegated Domain Authority. On the other hand, Plurality Labs aims to explore multiple allocation mechanisms to create a sustainably decentralizing solution that doesn’t rely solely on delegated authority.

In this regard, Questbook should be held accountable for allocating funds effectively, while Plurality Labs should be held accountable not only for effective fund allocation but also for developing native DAO processes that facilitate co-creation of the best grant funding mechanisms and approaches.

Showcasing pluralism from day 1

Plurality Labs fully supports other grants programs and wants to avoid discouraging investment in those programs due to their own efforts. By presenting their proposal separately, they hope to set a positive example on Day 1. If Plurality Labs successfully delivers their final proposal, it is anticipated that other grants programs will choose to participate through their program based on its demonstrated effectiveness. This expectation is reasonable upon completion of the third milestone.

Commitment to collaboration

Separating the proposals does not imply duplication of work. Questbook is likely to participate and co-host many discovery and design sessions organized by Plurality Labs. Questbook will benefit from the insights gained through Plurality Labs’ efforts. Additionally, Plurality Labs may choose to incorporate the Questbook software as a specific component within one of their pluralist grants programs.

Next Steps

Posting both proposals

The final version of the Questbook proposal is available here. The final version of the Plurality Labs proposal is available here. In the event that both proposals succeed, the entities involved are eager to collaborate, thereby establishing a precedent of pluralism from the very beginning.

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